This isn’t quite the sort of check-in post any parent would want to imagine writing while away on holidays. However, the babies in the paediatric ward are crying again. Rounds for the day have just begun, and Riley has just been given a booster of antibiotics through this cannula. I think I said that properly. I know next to nothing of medical jargon.

Adam and I were sitting on a bench talking in Kowloon Park yesterday morning and literally the second I asked, “Where’s Riley gone?” I looked over and saw him belly down on the ground, spreadeagled, underneath the monkey bars, crying, crying. Running over, hoping it wasn’t any worse than any other playground spill we’d ever had, it was soon clear it wasn’t when he stood up and his wrist flopped about on a weird angle.

Fuck, we need a hospital, a doctor, I don’t know where to go or what to do, I thought to myself as we tried to calm him down. I pulled out the map, which wasn’t all that helpful in these matters unless I wanted to find out what nice shops or restaraunts were around the area. Luckily, by the grace of God or good-luck, as we exited the park, across the road was a local GPs office. They rushed us in, referred us around the corner to a orthopaedic surgeon who was kind enough to find time for us. The only hospital in the area that could fit us in was that evening, and soon all the wheels were in motion – because there, on an X-ray, I could see clearly from the other side of the room, was a fracture that needed two pins to correct. He would need a general anaesthetic. We were going to spend the night away from the other two members of our family – one of whom was put out and scared and disoriented and generally very frustrated this had all happened – in a foreign place that sells baby formula on the street corners, but there’s also news that supplies are running low and certain groups are nervous; the news also talks about how there are fights on had for general paternity leave to be lifted to three days at 4/5 the regular wage, to be lifted again to match the civil service’s luxurious five days; avian flu warnings are plastered everywhere, as are quiet reminders that child abductions do happen, so don’t leave your child unattended.

By 10pm last night, after they wheeled out my dozing boy, I was feeling so white and dumb and stupid and generally ill-equipped to be of any use at all. Guilty, too. (“Why didn’t I watch him better?”)

The staff here have been lovely. Three nurses were on hand to ‘cajole’ (I could’ve used a stronger word there) my reluctant son into the theatre, where I was not allowed. It was not an easy moment and after he was gone I was left alone in a room full of signs written in foreign languages. Later, one of these nurses accompanied us back to our room, wheeling the trolley.

In the lift, as we headed up, she leaned over and stroked his cheek.

“Good boy. No cry.”

I asked what she meant.

“When he left you, he no cry. Brave boy.”

He is. Hopefully after we’re discharged later we can go and see this city some more. This has also taught me one important lesson: never, ever travel without travel insurance! Luckily, we will be covered.

Happy Australia Day, everyone.


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity